VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — Canadian National Railway (CN) plans to invest C$340 million across British Columbia in 2018 to expand and strengthen the company’s rail network throughout the province.
Doug Ryhorchuk VP of Western Region for CN
Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western Region

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing traffic on our corridors to and from the West coast and across B.C.,” said Doug Ryhorchuk, vice-president of CN’s Western Region. “Our investments in infrastructure, equipment and people will help us deliver superior service to our customers across the province and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscore our commitment to operating safely.”

The B.C. investments are part of CN’s C$3.4 billion capital program for 2018 and include track expansion projects that will boost capacity, allowing CN to better service growing forest products, intermodal, grain and industrial customers. CN said the other program elements will focus on the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure to improve overall safety and efficiency.

“These major capital investments are a sign of CN’s commitment to its operations in B.C., which continues to lead Canada in economic growth,” said Carla Qualtrough, member of Parliament for Delta, B.C. “CN’s infrastructure investments this year throughout B.C. will help strengthen local economies, support good middle class jobs and further solidify B.C.’s economic advantage as Canada's Pacific Gateway."

Planned expansion projects include:

  • Construction of four new train passing sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper, Alberta.
  • Extension of three existing passing sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper.
  • A siding extension north of Kamloops on CN’s Vancouver to Edmonton corridor.

Maintenance program highlights include:             

  • Replacement of approximately 115 miles of rail.
  • Installation of more than 335,000 new railroad ties.
  • Rebuilds of approximately 50 road crossing surfaces.
  • Maintenance work on bridges, including continuation of the multi-year maintenance project on the Fraser River Bridge.
  • Other maintenance work on culverts, signal systems and additional track infrastructure.

CN’s B.C. rail network serves the West coast gateways of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, and major inland terminals in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops and Fort Nelson.

“Strong transportation networks are so important to our trade- and resource-based economy in B.C.,” said Val Litwin, president and chief executive officer of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. “We are pleased to see CN making capital investments in B.C. that will expand our rail network, improve rail service to our businesses providing and supporting thousands of jobs across our provincial economy.”

Across its network, CN continues to invest in trade-enabling infrastructure and equipment. In May, CN announced that it plans to acquire 1,000 Canadian built, new generation high-cube grain hopper cars over the next two years to rejuvenate the aging equipment needed to serve increasing annual crop yields. In June, CN will take delivery of the first of 60 new GE locomotives due in service in 2018. The balance of a multi-year, 200-unit order will be brought online in 2019 and 2020.

The update to CN’s transportation cars comes after the Canadian government  approved a bill on May 23 that includes provisions to make grain transportation by rail more efficient.

Canada’s wide-ranging Transportation Modernization Act is intended to help grains and other crops move more quickly to market after a winter in which CN and Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway Ltd. struggled to ship harvested grain in a timely manner.